Regional Director’s Report January and February 2014

Best of the year to all of you.

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) started off 2014 with finishing up the stakeholders’ meetings for the Huxley park master plan. We hope to have a number of options for the public to look at in March’s open house.

You may have heard rumours about a skate board /bike park. It’s true that the Ride Free group has asked the RDN to lease land from the fire department for a skate park, and have talked to both the fire department and the RDN about this. The RDN is waiting for a reply from the fire hall to meet. A new site for a skate board /bike park would then open up possibilities at Huxley Park.

Why move the skate board park? Well experts have told us that Huxley Park is too small, and locating the park as close to the road as possible makes it easy to watch. I would like to be very clear the RDN is just looking for now, these things take time … lots of it.

I attended my first meeting of the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board (VIRL) as the representative for the RDN. It will take a bit of time to read the trustee handbook – more like a binder – which covers topics like governance, budget, collective agreements, master plans for growth, and more. There are 38 libraries on Vancouver Island from Sooke to Masset.

I went to part of the Gabriola school visioning exercise at the end of January to listen to what was being said. I have no children, so my contact with the school is limited and I will be very interested to see what comes of this vision for a community school.

The ferry cuts are of course a big priority. Cutting of the last two sailings of the day and some early morning ones will harm our community greatly. The blow to the economy, the social fibre of the community, school, and team sports would be a big loss for people. John Hodgkins (Ferry Advisory Committee) and Steve Earl (Islands Trust Transportation Advisory Commission) along with the Islands Trust trustees, the RDN, and others formed an ad-hoc group to talk with BC Ferries. The process is slow but we think we have a workable alternative.

I also attended a “Ka Na Ta Conversation” in Nanaimo. This is a series of talks aimed at opening conversation about First Nations and Canada. The one I attended was called “Seeing Each Other: the role of media and indigenous voices in reshaping relationships”. If you get a chance to go to one of these conversations I highly recommend it.

The RDN was invited to a celebration with the Nanoose First Nation at the end of January and also to the Snuneymuxw First Nation in early February to welcome the new council in to office. I am very impressed with the new younger councillors that have been elected. They are all very passionate about their community, and focus on the future; it will be interesting to work with them.

The incinerator at Duke Point is still moving forward. The proponents are out there trying to sell their waste-to-energy plan. I’m concerned about the possible health issues from the fine particles that are not captured and the toxic ash from the plant. I also believe that if you build one of these things then the priority is to feed it more garbage. Where will that come from?

For years our focus was on recycling and taking responsibility for the environment. I do not believe incinerator is part of that plan.

Still having fun,

Howard Houle,
Regional District Director,
Area B.

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